The Lensbaby Composer Pro meets outdoor photography.
Hey everyone I have something “different” to review today. I am stepping away from my Prime Time write ups and heading to new territory. In this little write up will discuss the Lensbaby Composer Pro ,the only lens offering a “free lensing” effect for micro fourthirds cameras.What is free lensing you may ask? Imagine being able to tilt-shift and focus shift at the same time. That is what the Lensbaby Composer Pro does! So let’s have a look at how I have been using it in my outdoor photography. I will be sharing its use in some of my landscape, floral photos when paired with the Olympus OM-D and my PEN E-PM2.
The cool people at Lensbaby sent me the Composer Pro with Sweet 35 optic to take for a spin around Michigan and Florida recently and I decided that I needed to show you more than the usual review full of portraits. Everyone knows that the Lensbaby line of products makes for some phenomenal portrait effects, but what about those of us who shoot landscapes, or floral and wildlife? I can honestly say that this thing is a blast in those genres as well!
Seeing Floral “in a new way”
One of the things I like about the Lensbaby is that it really does force you to slow way down when you shoot. The reason for this is because the focal plane is skewed severely thanks to the crazy shifting mechanism of the Lensbaby. And since the focal plane is skewed you need to take your time to compose with the Composer (see what I did there?) in order to maintain an in focus subject and yet get the wildly blurred area around it. You can see the subject of focus and surrounding “de-focused” area in the floral image below.
Subject Isolation is the Name of the Game
I am a big fan of isolating my subject in a photo. Whether I do that with a vignette, shallow depth of field, or now with a focal plan distortion via the Lensbaby, that is how I like to compose. I prime example is a shot I took while hiking in a marsh not too long ago. I found myself in an area full of cattails and loved the way the light was bathing them as the sun went down. For me this was a great opportunity to use the Lensbaby’s selective focusing to isolate my subjects and create a distinct mood. I’ll be the first to admit that this style of shooting isn’t for everyone, but it is something that for me has its place.
Some Final Thoughts
In closing I want to bring up a few things I found while using the Lensbaby Composer Pro. First off it is a very well built piece of equipment. There was nothing second rate about it, not even the packaging.Secondly I have to admit that it is NOT for everyone. You need to be of a mindset that it will not be the same as shooting shallow depth of field or doing tilt-shift. It is more like, focus shift, and tilting depth of field or something. Heck, it is its own thing! But that thing for me is a LOT of fun to use. Third on my list is the fact that with the Composer Pro you can swap in different optics. I won’t go into them here but I do suggest you look at them as they offer some very cool looks. Fourth and final point is that when combined with say the Art Filters that come on the Olympus and other brands of cameras this becomes one of the most fun,cool, hipster cred generating things I have ever played with. Imagine it as being the Instagram the cooler kids are using.
I’ll leave you with one of my Art Filter/Lensbaby shots from an air boating trip in Florida.
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